Sunday 17 February 2019

Tilgate Forest, Tilgate Park, Cowdray Forest and Ashdown Forest

It was a bit breezy really but Phil and I met up for some birding at Tilgate Forest. The clear highlight came when Phil realised that he'd left his camera's memory card in his computer at home so went back to his car to drop off his gear. At this moment, an adult female Sparrowhawk touched down in a stream only about 15 yards away from me. I expected her to instantly notice me and spook but she went on to bathe for the next five minutes or so. With a small step or two every 30 seconds, I managed to get in a better position to photograph the bird. Once I'd lifted the camera to my eyes, I dared not switch to binoculars or shift sideways for better light but it was an encounter to cherish nonetheless. Also noted on site were two Crossbills, a redpoll, five Siskins, three Bullfinches, a singing Mistle Thrush (another was singing along the lane as we drove in), a Buzzard and two Treecreepers.

adult female Sparrowhawk

We ventured into Tilgate Park to give a nod to the adult drake Ferruginous Duck from the German reintroduction scheme. An adult drake Mandarin showed nicely on the bigger lake, where a pair of Mute Swans were courting in the sunshine and a Great Crested Grebe fished. A Treecreeper and a few Siskins were also logged in the park.

German-released adult drake Ferruginous Duck

adult drake Mandarin

A very quick look in the Cowdray Forest off the end of Parish Lane produced a pair of Marsh Tits and another singing Mistle Thrush.

We'd planned on getting to Gills Lap in the Ashdown Forest while still sunny and warm but we arrived much later than planned, by which time the day was meeting a rather dull conclusion. Aside from three Crossbills, 55 Meadow Pipits gathering to roost, three Yellowhammers and three redpolls, there wasn't much to see.

Meadow Pipit